The Animal Rescue Store

Overview

Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Liz Swados shows her animal magnetism with this hilarious pet store poetry collection.

Cats, dogs, turtles, emus -- there's a place and poem in SIDNEY'S ANIMAL RESCUE STORE for every kind of critter. Meet heavy metal cockatoos who like to rock and roll, snooty llamas speaking French, alley cats with attitude, and even a batch of baby alligators.

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Overview

Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Liz Swados shows her animal magnetism with this hilarious pet store poetry collection.

Cats, dogs, turtles, emus -- there's a place and poem in SIDNEY'S ANIMAL RESCUE STORE for every kind of critter. Meet heavy metal cockatoos who like to rock and roll, snooty llamas speaking French, alley cats with attitude, and even a batch of baby alligators.

Kids will tweet, howl or hiss along to the romping rhythms of Liz Swados's poems and the colorful fun of Anne's Wilson's illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this chipper tribute to a man who runs an urban "animal rescue store," Swados (Hey You! C'mere! A Poetry Slam) presents zany, free-flowing poems introducing the residents of Sidney's Store, whose proprietor takes in unwanted animals and cares for them until they find homes. After big-hearted Sidney cheerfully greets young visitors ("Hello come in/ .../ We got great news./ Baby alligators today./ Don't run away"), the narrative focuses on individual critters, which range from common (dog, cat, guinea pig) to less orthodox (buzzard, lobster) pets. Featuring intermittent rhyme and varying rhythms, the verse is mostly written from the perspective of the youngsters meeting the animals ( "Combination Plate," starring a mutt, is a hoot). Yet among the most entertaining poems are those in which the creatures speak for themselves. These include a tough-talking tabby ("How 'bout me?/ I'm a rough/ Tumble tomboy tabby/ Cat. Pssst!") and a pompous llama ("Yes I'm rahther glorious/ Yawn yawn rahther brilliant./ I find you rahther boring ho hum. Rahther"). Wilson's (The Owl and the Pussycat) equally whimsical illustrations playfully portray the human and animal characters with an energetic mix of pencil outlines, swirling brushstrokes and collage elements. In the book's pleasing finale, as Sidney closes up shop at the end of the day, he announces, "Goodnight my/ Vagabond zoo./ I will find a home/ For every single/ One of you." Kids will enthusiastically welcome this colorful cast of critters into their homes. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Sidney, a pet store owner, takes in pets no one wants and people visit to decide whether to take a pet home. The pets run the gamut from the usual species to unusual or improbable ones. In 21 free verse poems with occasional internal rhymes, animal noises, and plenty of chutzpah, the text chronicles the addition of bunches of baby turtles with painted backs destined for the tourist trade in Chinatown, the haughty resident llama and the Puffy Prince Poodle, and a boring guinea pig. People who come looking for a pet include an 84-year-old woman who wants a rat companion and a squeamish girl considering a snake. While the poems present humorous opportunities to have a pet—a lobster? a rat?—many show the animals as seen by less-than-enlightened or knowledgeable people. Thus, the frog is slimy, the buzzard is a creepy bird that'll "make chopped liver out of you," a tarantula is dangerous, and the fish tank is especially boring. The fish watcher ends each observation with "A-duuuh." Kids will no doubt like the idea of unwanted pets possibly finding a home, but this is not a collection of poems designed to present cleverly an animal's defining characteristic, as do Doug Florian's collections, for instance. Wilson's colorful mixed media illustrations with scratches through the paint feature black shape-defining lines, and occasional visual links across the double spreads. They are a real plus to this uneven collection. 2005, Arthur A Levine/Scholastic, Ages 7 to 11.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-This collection of poetic verse tells the story of Sidney, who runs a special shop in which he takes in and tries to find homes for an eclectic assortment of animals including a buzzard, a llama, and tarantulas. Some of the poems speak from the heart of people of all ages who want pets, or those who just want to look at the curious wildlife. Others tell humorous tales of animal rescue from a variety of venues. Amusing illustrations in mixed-media collage add bold color and a cheerful, rollicking tone to the mix. Many of the selections are clever, well worded, and funny, with lots of sound effects and alliteration, while others have awkward rhythm and rhyme schemes and several go on too long. Adept teachers could use these poems to create a unique and interesting performance piece. Collectively they tell an amusing and sometimes moving tale.-Be Astengo, Alachua County Library, Gainesville, FL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The author's background in writing and composing for the theater is evident in this unusual collection of poetry that begs to be read aloud in dramatic voices or acted out as a class play. The 21 poems form a narrative arc that describes the inhabitants of a combination animal-rescue center and pet store, a fantastic sort of shelter that will take in a llama or a lobster. The unnamed narrator, usually an African-American teenaged boy who seems to be a helper at the shelter, introduces the owner of the store and a wide variety of potential pets. Swados uses stream-of-consciousness musings, invented words and animals sounds, snappy conversations and wildly imaginative characterizations to give the storeowner and each animal a unique personality. She isn't afraid to use rap conventions, near-rhymes or incorrect grammar when it suits the narrator, and she doesn't worry too much about her rhyme schemes or use of commas. Somehow, it all works together, enhanced by Wilson's vibrant illustrations, bright background colors and a jazzy design. (Poetry. 5-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439554763
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/26/2005
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.24 (h) x 0.38 (d)

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